Where’s the Money in IoT? 6 Key Takeaways from the TAG IoT Symposium 2016

On July 19, 2016, I was one of approximately 650 lucky people to attend the SOLD OUT TAG IoT Symposium at the Renaissance Waverly hotel in Atlanta, GA. Here are my 6 key takeaways from the event starting with, "Your customers probably don't care about IoT."

Thank you to Chris Kocks and pureIntegration for having me as your guest.

  1. Your customers probably don't care about IoT. They care about ROI and solving their problems. "Gone are the days when your customer calls you when they have a problem," Nayaki Nayyar, GM & Global Head of IoT and Innovation GTM, SAP. Customers expect you to be listening across all social channels and anticipate their needs. Service providers need to respond quickly in order to stay relevant. "Outcomes are more important than the technology, " Daryl Plummer, VP & Gartner Fellow, Gartner, Inc.

How does IoT create ROI?

  • SAP helped Trenitalia reduce their maintenance costs 8-10% by installing sensors that predicted maintenance, replacing arbitrarily scheduled maintenance.
  • Emerson is "taking a bite" out of 1.3 Billion tons of food wasted each year.
  • Numerex is tracking high-value assets with IoT devices to reduce losses for their customers.
  • Harley Davidson reduced their custom motorbike lead time from 21 days to 6 hours.
  • Coca-Cola's Freestyle machine increased sales by 20% and the analytics saved Coca-Cola $$$ on consumer testing of new flavors. Essentially Coca-Cola used the data from the Freestyle machines to introduce new Coke flavors into cans for grocery sales.

2. IoT can be found in almost every industry. Healthcare & Fitness, Retail, Manufacturing, Logistics, Transportation, Hospitality, Government, FinTech, and more.

  • Nayaki Nayyar stated the 5 industries where SAP is "laser focused" in 2016: Manufacturing, Logistics, Energy & Natural Resources, Consumer, and Healthcare.
  • Marc Zionts, Numerex pointed out that his customers wanted to know where their high value assets were real-time for efficiency, supply chain, and decrease losses.
  • "These connected devices can gather data and provide a view of the world which transcends the physical and the virtual," Daryl Plummer, Gartner, Inc., "Everything can be connected. Everything can be automated."
  • It's easy to understand the business model for IoT in B2C with the Fitbit as a leading example, but B2B, businesses are using IoT sensors and devices to collect data. Using that data to transform their business from the traditional to X-a-a-s, "Anything - as - a Service" according to Marc Ziontis, Numerex.

3. IoT brings new privacy and security concerns. Daryl Plummer, Gartner, Inc. showed us how IoT could work for us or against us. Gartner predicts by 2021, 1 million new things connected to the Internet will be sold every hour of every day. Those devices (some will be sensors) will be in our presence even if we don't know it. Daryl Plummer described a scenario where your car emails you when it needs service; if you don't take your car for servicing, it will make its own appointment at the dealership, and then drive itself to the dealership!

  • Do we have privacy policies or laws for shoes that are tracking your location?
  • If you bring a connected device to work, is your guest network ready? Is that BYOD Inside your firewall? How about devices on a public Wi-Fi in a park?
  • If you are shopping in a retail, your smartphone will tell you if the connected device you are considering purchasing is compatible with the devices in your home today.
  • Can insurance adjusters can approve or deny your claim based on the connected sensors in your car? Could your health insurance premiums go up or go down based on your Fitbit activity?
  • The previous point brings up fraud. Would you strap your Fitbit to your dog for more steps?


4. Out-of-stock is a big problem for Suppliers and Retailers.

  • Mariano Maluf, Coca-Cola, pointed out that the Freestyle machine only requires 30 cartridges for 100+ choices. This is a significantly smaller footprint than traditional space to stock Coca-Cola products at restaurants. Additionally, the freestyle machine will signal the store manager when one of the cartridges is getting low. Even better, Coca-Cola auto-ships to the store when a flavor cartridge is getting low to decrease the amount of stock needed on hand at a location. I imagine this to be somewhat like your printer ink cartridges pop-up notification when the ink is low and then auto-reorder of the ink cartridges delivered to your door.
  • Network on Demand from AT&T won the Hackathon with their real-time Coca-Cola cooler monitoring solution.
  • Levi Jeans is taking it to the next level in retail by working with Intel on tagging all jeans from manufacture to sale, reported Rick Lisa, America's IoT Marketing, Intel.

5. The growth of IoT means we need more trained and experienced technical people in the workforce. Where are companies going to get the right people from? Are they going to get Computer Science and Engineering degrees from traditional universities or tactical training from IronYard? Combination of both with the sheer number of projected jobs. The Education panel pointed out that some of the best technologists come from a music background.


6. Forget what you knew yesterday about IoT.

  • "IoT has changed rapidly in the past 2 years and will continue to evolve rapidly," Mark Dunson, Emerson.
  • Wienke Giezeman, The Things Network, created a new IoT network in Amsterdam in 6 weeks with IoT devices that were smaller, faster, & cheaper. Talk about building a smarter mousetrap! These IoT devices had 3-year battery life, used less energy than Bluetooth, and were cheaper than Wi-Fi.

The TAG IoT Symposium ended with a Call to Action from John Trainor, CIO, Aaron's Inc. to make Georgia an innovation technology center for IoT.

Great job by event chair, Todd Peneguy, Technology Association of Georgia, and the committee

Still reading? Check out my Recap video from the symposium: